Original 'Godzilla' 1954

Godzilla movies are considered to be something of a joke to mainstream audiences in the States. Most people here probably haven’t even seen the original Godzilla from 1954, and only get their knowledge of the character from watching bits and pieces of the cheesy and innumerable sequels that used to get constant play on late night cable — and some people might even only know the radioactive monster from that abysmal reboot that Roland Emmerich made in the late nineties. God forbid. Because of all this, when you mention Godzilla to most people in Middle America, the first things that pops into their heads are actors in cumbersome rubber suits stumbling around in ridiculous-looking models of cityscapes, and cutaways to overly acted reaction shots from shrieking citizens inserted here and there.

And heck, even people in the U.S. who have seen the original Godzilla from 1954 probably haven’t seen the actual Japanese version (called Gojira). Because, when it was released over here, they cut out 40 minutes of footage and inserted a subplot where Raymond Burr played a journalist caught up in all of the destruction, so that American audiences wouldn’t be asked to have to identify with people of another culture or something.

Due to the rampant misunderstanding, monster movie aficionados have been screaming until they become blue in the face for decades about how under-appreciated Gojira is as a movie. They’ve been screaming that those 40 minutes of footage cut out of the US version are essential bits that change the tone of the movie completely from being silly monster stuff to being a brutal creature feature, from being disaster-driven exploitation to being a vital work of horror that taps into the terror and trauma the Japanese people experienced after having atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Because of their love of the original, it was old school monster movie fanatics who seemed to be the only ones who weren’t surprised when the trailers and concept art for the upcoming reboot of Godzilla that Gareth Edwards is making started to hit the net. Everyone else couldn’t believe that the tone of the material was so dark and realist, even though that was the same tone of the Godzilla movie that set off the whole Kaiju craze in the first place.

The good news here is that, before everyone lines up to take in what looks to be a pretty exciting picture from Edwards, they’re going to get a chance to watch the original Godzilla, in all of its uncut glory, up on the big screen. Which, seeing as the only other theatrical run the film got in this country came ten years ago, right before it was released on DVD, could be the first opportunity a vast majority of film fans are going to have to see a movie that was meant to look large on a large enough screen to appreciate it.

The story of the re-release comes via The Wrap, who report that the first screening of the Godzilla re-release will happen at New York’s Film Forum on April 12, as a part of the TCM Classic Film Festival. After that, screenings will roll out to a handful of other cities, including Portland, Seattle, Santa Fe, Houston, Lexington, and Columbus. If you happen to live in one of the affected areas, you can go to this site to get all of the information you’re going to need to plan your visit with the King of the Monsters. The rest of us will just sit here jealous, hoping that there are additional cities that have yet to be announced.


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